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29 AUGUST 2017

On the Passage of a few People through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International 1956-1972

"The Situationist International (SI) was an international organization of social revolutionaries, the exclusive membership of which was made up of avant-garde artists, intellectuals, and political theorists, active from its formation in 1957 to its dissolution in 1972.

The intellectual foundations of the Situationist International were derived primarily from anti-authoritarian Marxism and the avant-garde art movements of the early 20th century, particularly Dada and Surrealism. Overall, situationist theory represented an attempt to synthesize this diverse field of theoretical disciplines into a modern and comprehensive critique of mid-20th century advanced capitalism. The situationists recognized that capitalism had changed since Marx's formative writings, but maintained that his analysis of the capitalist mode of production remained fundamentally correct; they rearticulated and expanded upon several classical Marxist concepts, such as his theory of alienation. In their expanded interpretation of Marxist theory, the situationists asserted that the misery of social alienation and commodity fetishism were no longer limited to the fundamental components of capitalist society, but had now in advanced capitalism spread themselves to every aspect of life and culture. They resolutely rejected the idea that advanced capitalism's apparent successes—such as technological advancement, increased income, and increased leisure—could ever outweigh the social dysfunction and degradation of everyday life that it simultaneously inflicted.

Essential to situationist theory was the concept of the spectacle, a unified critique of advanced capitalism of which a primary concern was the progressively increasing tendency towards the expression and mediation of social relations through objects. The situationists believed that the shift from individual expression through directly lived experiences, or the first-hand fulfillment of authentic desires, to individual expression by proxy through the exchange or consumption of commodities, or passive second-hand alienation, inflicted significant and far-reaching damage to the quality of human life for both individuals and society. Another important concept of situationist theory was the primary means of counteracting the spectacle; the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.

When the Situationist International was first formed, it had a predominantly artistic focus; emphasis was placed on concepts like unitary urbanism and psychogeography. Gradually, however, that focus shifted more towards revolutionary and political theory. The Situationist International reached the apex of its creative output and influence in 1967 and 1968, with the former marking the publication of the two most significant texts of the situationist movement, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem. The expressed writing and political theory of the two aforementioned texts, along with other situationist publications, proved greatly influential in shaping the ideas behind the May 1968 insurrections in France; quotes, phrases, and slogans from situationist texts and publications were ubiquitous on posters and graffiti throughout France during the uprisings."

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195719721989 • advanced capitalism • anti-authoritarianart movement • authentic desires • avant-garde art • Branka Bogdanov • capitalist societycommodity fetishism • commodity spectacle • consumer societyconsumerism • consumption of commodities • Dadadegradationdetournement • directly lived experiences • documentary filmearly 20th centuryeveryday life • exchange of commodities • expression and mediation of social relations through objects • feeling of adventure • feeling of life • first-hand fulfillment of authentic desires • graffiti • Greil Marcus • Guy Debord • individual expression by proxy • Jamie Reid • liberation of everyday life • Malcolm Mac Laren • Marxism • Marxist concepts • Marxist theory • May 1968 • means of production • mid-20th century advanced capitalism • mode of production • moments of life • political theorists • political theorypsychogeography • Raoul Vaneigem • reawakening • revolutionary theory • second-hand alienation • Situationist International • situationist movement • situationist theory • situations • slogan • social alienation • social dysfunction • social relations • social revolutionaries • Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord)spectaclesurrealism • The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) • theory of alienation • Thomas Levine • UbuWeb • unified critique • unitary urbanism • video documentary

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 DECEMBER 2016

Michael Moore: Why Finland has the Best Education

"Where To Invade Next is an expansive, hilarious, and subversive comedy in which the Academy Award®-winning director, playing the role of 'invader,' visits a host of nations to 'steal' some of their best ideas and bring them back home to the U.S. of A."

Extract from Michael Moore's 2015 film "Where to Invade Next".

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2015academic achievementAmerican dreambest practicescitizenship • civics • documentary film • duties of citizens • education policyeducation systemeducational modelexemplary models • failure of performance testing • feature documentary • find your happiness • FinlandFranceGermany • great education • homework • human rights and duties • IcelandItaly • Krista Kiuru • Michael Moore • national best practices • Norway • operation and oversight of government • performance metrics • performance testing • performativityplaytime • political provocateur • Portugalschool performanceSloveniastandardisationstandardised testingstudent-centredteaching to the test • togetherness • Tunisia • Where to Invade Next (2015)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 AUGUST 2015

The 1968 Buckley-Vidal debates: presaging the end, not the beginning, of the American public intellectual

"The directors of The Best of Enemies, a documentary about the 1968 debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, could have produced a riveting movie simply by splicing together old debate footage. This movie is about many weighty matters--politics, ideology, history, society and the media--but the delicious spectacle of watching two sexy men in their prime, with rapier wit, speaking in the accents of a gone American elite, slicing each other into fine ribbons, makes the film a guilty indulgence.

These two ghosts from a bygone era still make great television. It worked so well, in fact, that the series of debates, created by ABC to attach to the two 1968 conventions–Republicans in Miami and Democrats in Chicago–became the prototype for every television talking head show for the next half-century.

Sadly, no one has ever done it better. ...

The Buckley-Vidal debates could be the high moment in the history of the televised American political debate. But the spectacle contained within itself the seed of the end too. Extreme civility was about to explode and cool William Buckley, whose fate it was to manifest that explosion, would regret it for the rest of his life."

(Nina Burleigh, 1 February 2015, Newsweek)

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1968 • ABC (USA) • Best of Enemies (2015) • Buckley-Vidal debates • bygone eraChicago • Christopher Hitchens • conservative cool • conservative intellectual • conventional liberalism • crypto-fascist • crypto-Nazi • cultural elite • culture wars • Democratdocumentary film • erudite commentary • essayist • extreme civility • faggot • Frank Rich • Gore Vidal • great television • information bubble • insult • John Birch Society (JBS) • liberal ideology • liberalismMagnolia Pictures • Matt Tyrnauer • Miami • Morgan Neville • National Review (magazine) • Newsweek (magazine) • novelist • Pericles • polite society • political debate • political ideology • presage • public intellectual • Republican • Robert Gordon • Sam Tanenhaus • social conservatismspectacle • talking heads • Ted Koppel • televised political debate • the media • US electionswhite male • William Buckley

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
17 JULY 2015

Came by Boat: Vietnamese refugee who calls Australia home

"The riveting story of fleeing war-torn Vietnam for the safety of Australia, winner of the Audience Award in the Australian Shorts section at the Human Rights Arts Film Festival."

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2014 • Alisa Woraprangkul • Asia Pacific • asylumAustraliaboat • boat people • Carmen Holman • documentary filmhuman rights • Human Rights Arts Film Festival • immigration • Indochina • Malcolm Bloedel • Malcolm Fraser • Marleena Forward • Melbourne • Ning Xue • Peter Frost • refugee • refugee crisis • Shannon Owen • Steve Thomas • Then I Came by Boat (2014) • Tri Nguyen • Victorian College of the ArtsVietnamVietnam warVietnamese • Vietnamese boat people

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
05 JULY 2015

Agora: From Democracy to the Market by Yorgos Avgeropoulos

"Το ντοκιμαντέρ του ΓιÏŽργου ΑυγερÏŒπουλου «Αγορά» (Agora), συνθέτει ένα ανακεφαλαιωτικÏŒ χρονικÏŒ της κοινωνικής τραγωδίας που μαστίζει την Ελλάδα την τελευταία πενταετία, θέτοντας κρίσιμα ερωτήματα για μια παγκÏŒσμια συστημική κρίση σε εξέλιξη και μία ευρωπαÏŠκή διακυβέρνηση που διεξάγει οικονομικά πειράματα υψηλού ρίσκου χωρίς να υπολογίζει το ανθρÏŽπινο κÏŒστος."

(ΓιÏŽργος Ρούσσος, 10 Ιανουάριος/January 2015, TVXS)

Translated using Google Translate: "The documentary of George Avgeropoulos "Buy» (Agora), composes a summary chronicle of social tragedy plaguing Greece the last five years, posing critical questions for a global systemic crisis in progress and a European economic governance carried out risky experiments without count the human cost."

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2014agora • Agora (2014) • Al Jazeera • Alexandros Mavropoulos • Alexis Barzos • Anastasia Skoubri • ancient heritage • Andreas Vagias • assembly place • austerity measuresbanking system • central area • citizenship • city centre • city-state • Colin Crouch • commercial transactions • common currency • debt crisisdemocracydocumentary film • Elena Apostolidou • euro area • European Central Bank • European economic governance • European ParliamentEuropean Union • eurozone • Evangelos Venizelos • financial crisis • Georgia Anagnou • global systemic crisis • governanceGreek crisis • homelessness • IMFInternational Monetary Fund • Jean-Claude Trichet • Jutta Krug • Kostis Nikolopoulos • Mahi Nikolara • Marina Demertzian • Marios Dionellis • Martin Schulz • Michael Ash • Michalis Gripiotis • monetary union • Naomi Klein • post-war history • povertyRawan Damen • Richard Parker • rise of the extreme-right • Seraphim Seferiades • soup kitchen • Theofilos Dadis • Thodoris Popeskou • Thomais Papaioannou • Thomas Herndon • unemployment • Vasilis Magos • Vasilis Mourikis • violent conflicts • Westdeutscher Rundfunk • Yanis Varoufakis • Yiannis Avgeropoulos • Yiannis Biliris • Yiannis Chlebakos • Yiannis Paxevanis • Yorgos Avgeropoulos • Yorgos Santamouris

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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